PRINCE Rivero becoming teammate and eventually, forming a strong bond with Beau Belga helped him to know better the veteran Rain or Shine big man.
Unlike the bad boy image Belga had impressed upon him when he was not yet in the PBA, Rivero said 'Big Beau' was a real person off the court once he finally got to work closely with him.
"Before pag pinapanood ko siya ang pakiramdam ko, 'grabe napaka bad boy naman nito sa loob ng court kasi walang ginawa kundi ganito, ganyan,'" recalled Rivero, now entering his sophomore season with the Elasto Painters.
It turned out, the 34-year-old Belga was a likeable player who doesn't really meant hurting the Elasto Painters' opponents on the floor.
The 6-foot-5 Belga would explain to Rivero that physicality is nothing but a part of the game.
"Seeing him in practice and being able to practice along side with him, sinasabi niya sa akin, 'Bata, bago ka pa lang sa PBA. Yung mga ganyang bagay, normal yan. Magkakatamaan talaga kayo.'
"Minsan akala mo nagkakapikunan, pero yung mga players, friends yan lahat. Magkakakilala yan. Very small lang ang basketball world especially sa PBA," said Rivero in recalling Belga's advice on him.
Rivero has taken Belga's words to heart, that is to play hard and physical but with no personal intention to hurt.
"Something I learned from Kuya Beau is whenever you entered the court, don't be scared na matamaan ka or makatama ka because it's all part of basketball," said the former Del La Salle Green Archer.
"Siguraduhin mo lang na hindi mo sasadyain. Kasi kapag sinadya mo, ibang usapan na yun. That's not basketball anymore."
With Belga taking Rivero under his wings, the 6-foot-3 Rivero had a decent rookie season coming off the bench for the Elasto Painters during the last Philippine Cup bubble where Rain or Shine made it to the playoffs.
Rivero recalled both the game and life lessons he learned from Belga during his latest appearance in the PBA Kamustahan.(RG)